up at dawn

Every morning at dawn, hundreds of monks in Luang Prabang leave their temples, walk single file down the street in their saffron robes to collect alms. I decided to get the big girls up early at the end of Buddhist Lent, so that we could observe this religious ritual on a day that the streets are particularly full of locals giving alms.

2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (1 of 1)This ceremony has become a huge tourist attraction, so we chose a quieter street in hopes of seeing a more genuine event.  As we walked down the street, we watched people set their mats out and arrange their offerings of sticky rice, packaged food, money, flowers, incense etc… 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (1 of 22)Getting up at 5:30 was exciting for the girls, but they also wanted to sit down as soon as we found a good spot to watch. 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (2 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (3 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (4 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (5 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (6 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (7 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (8 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (9 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (10 of 22)Some nice old lady called the girls over to come get some snacks from her. 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (11 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (12 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (13 of 22)Others not participating in alms giving, were going about their normal morning routines at their outdoor kitchens. 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (14 of 22)There were still a number of tourists on this quiet street. 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (15 of 22)And a few locals wanting to get some pictures of my girls with theirs. 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (16 of 22)You can see they are nearing the end of their walk as they are now carrying an additional plastic bag full of food. 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (17 of 22)The monks in turn give some of what they’ve received back to the kids in the neighborhood who are waiting with their own empty basket.  2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (19 of 22) 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (20 of 22)We saw our neighbors out giving alms too.2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (21 of 22)and receiving quite a bit in return! 2015-11-22 alms giving luang prabang by Melissa Crossett (22 of 22)We ended our early outing by enjoying breakfast at a cafe and returning home to Daddy and Isla who had just gotten up. And Talia was already ready for a nap!

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